Alice Slevison, Zoe Hawkins and James Mugg
The US’ incoming chief of naval operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson has been invited by his Chinese counterpart, Commander in Chief of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy—Admiral Wu Shengli—to visit China to discuss US–China naval cooperation. Outgoing US Admiral Jon Greenert has pointed to China’s interest in the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise (RIMPAC), held every two years in Hawaii, claiming that Adm. Wu is ‘very interested in RIMPAC 2016 and making it work’. China took part in RIMPAC for the first time in the 2014.
On 27 August, Japan launched its second Izumo-class helicopter carrier, the largest warship built by Japan since World War II. The 24,000-tonne ship named Kaga can carry up to 14 helicopters and is designed for mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare. The new capability is aimed at countering China’s more powerful submarine force. In March, an officer from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces told Japanese media outlet Asahi Shimbun that the ship ‘heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect’.
Meanwhile in Australia, NUSHIP Adelaide, RAN’s second landing helicopter dock, has completed its final sea ship trials in Port Phillip Bay. The 27,800 tonne vessel has returned to BAE System’s Williamstown shipyard and will be delivered to the Navy in September.